Thursday, August 7, 2014

BMCs of West Pendam and Martam-Nazitam GPUs reconstituted

GANGTOK, 06 Aug: The Mountain India in collaboration with the Sikkim State Biodiversity Board is in the process of re-constituting new Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) in different Gram Panchayat Units such as West Pendam GPU, Hee-Pechreak GPU, Lingee GPU, Payuong GPU, Martam-Nazoitam GPU, and Kitam-Manpur GPU. These BMCs were formed during 2009-2010 by TMI India while their legal recognition by the State Biodiversity Board was pending.
A press release informs that two BMCs, one at West Pendam GPU and another at Martam-Nazitam GPU were reconstituted in the Gram Sabha on 11 June 2014 and 01 August 2014, respectively.
In West Pendam GPU, the Panchayat President, Sonam Tshering Lepcha was unanimously nominated as the Chairperson of the BMC while TR Sapkota was nominated as the Secretary. The other members are Ambika Dahal, Pushpa Pokhrel, KB Biswakarma and Om Prakash Gurung (BO of the Forest Department posted at Rangpo).
Likewise the Panchayat President of the Martam-Nazitam GPU, Sonam Palzor Machungpa was chosen as the Chairperson and Manish Chettri was nominated as the Secretary of the BMC formed there. Other Members chosen are Geeta Sharma, Bandana Chetti, Shanti Lohar and Passamg Lhamu Bhutia.
The release informs that as per the Biological Diversity Act 2002, and the Indian Biological Diversity Rules 2004, every local body shall constitute a Biodiversity Management Committee within its area for the purpose of promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including preservation of habitats, conservation of land races, folk varieties and cultivars, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals and microorganisms and chronicling of knowledge relating to biological diversity.
The functions of the BMC is to prepare, maintain and validate People’s Biodiversity Registers in consultation with the local people, advise on any matter referred to it by the State Biodiversity Board or National Biodiversity Authority for granting approval, to maintain data about the local baidhyas/Dhamis/Jhakris and practitioners using the biological resources, and levy charges by way of collection fees from person(s) accessing or collecting bioresource for commercial purpose from its territorial jurisdiction.
The People’s Biodiversity Registers shall be maintained, authenticated and validated by the Biodiversity Management Committees with the assistance/guidance of the local Technical Support Committee, a copy of which would be made available to the State Biodiversity Board. BMC shall ensure the protection of the knowledge recorded in the People’s Biodiversity Register principally in the matters of regulation of access to agencies and individuals outside the village limits. Access to registers need to be recorded in writing and maintained in consultation with SBB/ Technical Support group.
Since June 2014, TMI India has initiated to carry out a series of general awareness campaigns in different parts of Sikkim. During the awareness the important point enumerated in the Indian Biodiversity Act of 2002, Indian Biological Diversity Rules (2004) and Sikkim State Biological Diversity Rules (2006) are mostly discussed with the local people. Additionally, preservation of indigenous knowledge, innovations, and practices of indigenous and local communities are critical issues to be addressed. Thus, awareness raising, training and documentation the details of genetic bio-resources and associated Traditional Knowledge (TK) in a Peoples Biodiversity Register is an effective way to avoid bio-piracy of future misappropriation of genetic resources or associated knowledge. The State of Sikkim has a Biodiversity Board under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister of Sikkim.

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